A few days ago I read an article from the New York Times ( Dec.28/2018, entitled “What foods are banned in Europe but not banned in the US” )which stated that after Brexit ( assuming that it goes ahead) the UK will probably have to accept food imports from the USA. Currently many of these food stuffs are banned under EU rules because of the additives that are allowed in the USA, but not in the EU.
A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog on this subject, and in fact it is quiet scary, what is allowed in the USA and not in many other countries.
BHA and BHT are substances which are banned in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and the EU, however are still used in the USA particularly in snack foods such as crisps.
Azodicarbonamide, is used for the texture in cheap white bread, is used in the USA by MacDonalds and Burger king in their Burger Buns., it is banned in the countries above, AND if a company uses it in Singapore, they can get a large fine and 15 years in gaol! Its shortened name is simply AZODI and is often called the Yoga Mat additive as it is also found in Yoga Mats, as it is light and strong! Fancy eating your Yoga Mat, No, I don’t think so ! But can be found in over 500 products or restaurants in the USA!
Bovine growth hormone, banned in the EU, in 1981: but was approved by the FDA in the USA, in 1993.
Potassium Bromate, used in the USA in flour, but again banned in the EU.
Food colourings , especially Blue dye #1, Yellow dye numbers 5 and 6 and Red 40. The yellow dyes are used in ready meals, colourings for some cereals and the bright yellow of American Cheese., and also American M and M’s are more colourful than those which are sold in EU? Why because the colourants are banned in the EU. I remember many many years ago checking the food dye numbers on the packets of sweets that I bought my kids as a special treat !
Looking at Maille, the crème de la crème of mustard manufacturers, the mustard does not have any real additives, but the Mayo has a colourant E224. However it is approved in the EU and is also found in frozen shell fish, frozen vegetables, fruit juice, and WINE !
(Many soft drinks in the USA contain BVO, but again this is banned in EU and Japan.
Poultry feed in the USA is likely to contain traces of Arsenic! And of course totally banned in the EU!
Many, many foods in the USA and the EU contain natural flavourings, but how natural is natural? This has not been banned in the EU, but to my mind it should be, as it is a total CON. Never buy olive oil that states Truffles. Unless it actually has a truffle floating around inside, it has never been near a truffle but more likely closer to a chemists bench! The flavouring is in fact, 2,4-dithiapentane, which is as cheap as chips, but, the Fake Truffle Oil certainly is not !
Other dubious additives include, BHA ( can interrupt endocrine functions); BHT, has caused cancer in Rats, Propyl Gallate and Propyl Paraben along with Theobromine. All allowed in the USA, due in part as the FDA allows the industry to self regulate !, But all are banned in the EU!
However my favourite, a really bad one is OLESTRA . I remember this being hailed, when we lived in the USA, as the big new thing for the food industry. What could be better? Zero calories, Zero grams of cholesterol and Zero grams of fat? Eat as many potato Chips as you like and never put on an ounce. In January 1996, the FDA approved OLESTRA as a food additive. Cut out the unhealthy cooking oil. Dump the shortening. Trash the butter. Frito-Lay was among the first companies to jump on board, introducing its WOW! division of potato chips in 1998 to claim fat-free stomach satisfaction. However Olestra was of course too good to be true. It removed the fat from food but also stopped the body from absorbing vital vitamins . Side effects included cramps, gas and chronic diarrhoea! And so “Another diet myth bites the dust:” Products containing the calorie-less fake fat Olean, ( trade name, ) of fat-free potato chips fame, may make you gain weight, not lose it.still legal food additive in the USA despite the obvious side effects.
Someone once said, if your Grandmother wouldn’t give it to you, then don’t buy it or eat it !
I think the bottom line is, avoid processed food, as far as possible and read the food labels. It will be interesting to see what happens after Brexit and more food stuffs from the USA enter the UK, I guess we will have to be more vigilant, GOOD LUCK!